Getting More out of Google Analytics with Andrew ‘Optimisey’ @Optimisey #vcbuzz

Getting More out of Google Analytics with Andrew 'Optimisey' #vcbuzz

Google Analytics is one of the most powerful (and free!) tools at our disposal.

Yet, not many content creators or marketers realize (and use) the full potential of it.

How to use Google Analytics to truly benefit from your own data?

Let’s discuss!

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About Andrew ‘Optimisey’

Andrew runs Optimisey, a Cambridge SEO consultancy.

Andrew has been working on websites for nearly 20 years – creating compelling content, eye-catching headlines, link building, launching social media channels, building audiences and ‘getting a bit optimisey’.

Andrew is also running SEO meetups that aim at increasing your knowledge and confidence in the subject

Questions we discussed

Q1 How did you become a digital marketer? Please share your career story!

Like lots of people I got into digital marketing almost by accident. I started out in content, my degree is in Media and I studied journalism, starting out at the BBC here in the UK. A/B testing headlines to get more traffic got me hooked!

Q2 How can one benefit from Google Analytics goals? How to set them up?

Woo… how to answer this one succinctly enough for a Tweet? Goals are conversions (things you want people to do on your site). They can be purchases, subscriptions, bookings, form completions… *anything*. With ‘Goals’ set-up properly you can *measure* them.

The adage of “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” was never truer. I see SO many businesses who know what their KPIs are but don’t have Goals set-up – so have no idea which channel or traffic source or campaign drives most sales/subscriptions/engagement etc.

I wrote a lil’ guide on how to set-up some basics Goals and things to consider (and how to avoid some of the awful, awful defaults Google Analytics tries to steer you towards!).

Q3 What are Google Analytics views and filters and how to use them?

Using one of my (many) analogies I describe GA Views as windows over your courtyard garden. You can set a View to look at it however you want; or to look at a particular bit of it.

Filters are like directing your gardener to take out bits you don’t wanna see… – all the red flowers or – all the plants over a certain height or – all the plants from South America etc. Which can be great but also… once you ‘Filter’ them… they’re GONE.

This is something I see all too often. Filters are FOREVER (’til you turn ’em off). Always set-up a separate ‘Sandbox’ View to test things in; and a ‘Raw Data’ view with NO filters on… just in case. Then your ‘Reporting’ view for when your sandbox ideas work.

A good ‘Filter’ lots of people could benefit from is to screen out yourself (or your staff/colleagues). Folks tend to browse their own company website a LOT… but rarely buy from it. Colleagues often mess up your data in all sorts of weird ways! Filter ’em.

You can set-up Filters for pretty much anything. Countries; cities; devices; IP addresses; hostnames… if you can find it in Analytics, you can filter by it! And you can “Include only” OR “Exclude” ’em.

Views are super cool to set-up specific Views of your data. Your content team only interested in the performance of the /blog/ pages? Make ’em a View. Your Rio team only want to see traffic from Brazil? Make ’em a View. 

Yup. I do it almost as reflex now when setting up a new GA account. Worst case you have a back-up and a sandbox to test things in.

Q4 How often should one monitor Google Analytics data and how to best benefit from it?

There’s no ‘right’ answer to this… but I’d advise “As often as you can.” If you can’t keep an eye on it as often as you’d like, look into the ‘Alerts’ feature. It’s terrific.

You can set-up alerts to notify you if a metric (traffic/conversions/sales/bookings etc.) goes above or below a certain threshold OR up or down by x%. You can do this daily/weekly/monthly. It can be too late if there’s a major issue… but better late than never!

Plus it’s super-cool when you can set it to notify your whole team when you set a new sales/traffic record.

Q5 What are your favorite SEO tools?

I know it’s the topic but… Google Analytics, properly configured is one of ’em! It can tell you SO much about a site (what’s working/not working) where issues or holes in the funnel are etc. etc. Other than that: Google Search Console is a must have too.

And #SEO tools like: @screamingfrog & @sitebulb are ace for finding and diagnosing problems. @semrush is a real Swiss army knife of a tool. Things like @AlsoAsked are great for brainstorming content ideas too.

How could I forget Google Data Studio!? A terrific way to make your data siiiiiiiiiing! ?

Our previous Google Analytics chats:


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